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Today is the last day for Governor Albert Bryan to take action in either vetoing or approving former Senator Positive Nelson’s medicinal marijuana bill, which was approved in the 32nd Legislature’s last session and forwarded to Mr. Bryan for his consideration.
According to the Bryan administration’s Communications Director, Richard Motta, as of Friday afternoon Mr. Bryan had yet to take action on the bill, stating that the governor was still reviewing the legislation.
But today marks the 14-day deadline given to a governor to either veto or approve a measure. If no action is taken, the bill automatically becomes law in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Governor Bryan has spoken in favor of medicinal marijuana, and while a gubernatorial candidate, mentioned the creation of a registry for marijuana products in the territory that would see the U.S. Virgin Islands receiving a percentage of the sale on all products registered here. Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach is also a proponent of the bill.
Even so, some have pointed out concerns relative to vagueness and enforcement if the bill is signed into law. During a December 2019 hearing, former Senator Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, a staunch opposer of the measure, laid out her disquiet with the measure. She said while the bill’s sponsor, Mr. Nelson, has said smoking was not the intent of the legislation, throughout the bill smoking of marijuana is not prohibited. “If it doesn’t say you cannot smoke, then I would have to take the position that smoking can be allowed,” Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly said.
She pointed out that the bill allows individuals to have a combination of 12 plants, mature or immature, in the amount produced from the patient’s allowable plants if they are processed at the property where they are cultivated. “In my opinion, from reading the bill, it doesn’t say whether the plants need to be grown indoors, or if it can be grown outdoors,” Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly said. Proponents of the measure contended that such decisions should be determined in rules and regulations that would govern the medicinal marijuana industry outside the bill itself.
Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly also highlighted yet another issue, this time one related to patients arriving in the territory approved to use the drug for treatment. The bill says the patients must provide documentation confirming that they are indeed authorized to use medicinal marijuana for treatment. The bill also says the treatment must take place at “the inpatient facility”.
“What are these facilities going to look like?” Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly asked. The proponent testifier said rules and regulations should also govern such decisions, an answer that did not satisfy the senator.
“I believe a lot of the concerns that some of us have, [that] I have in particular, could be addressed through the legislation rather than through regulations. There is no guarantee that the board that gets put in place will in fact deal with these concerns through the regulations once it has left the Legislature,” Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly said.
Below, a chart showing states where marijuana is legal in one form or another as of January 2019, and the accompanying legislation.
|State||Legal Status||Medicinal||Decriminalized||State Laws|
|Alabama||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Alaska||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Arizona||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Arkansas||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|California||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Colorado||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Connecticut||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Delaware||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|District of Columbia||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Florida||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Georgia||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Hawaii||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Idaho||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Illinois||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Indiana||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Iowa||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Kansas||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Kentucky||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Louisiana||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Maine||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Maryland||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Massachusetts||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Michigan||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Minnesota||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Mississippi||Fully Illegal||No||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Missouri||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Montana||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Nebraska||Fully Illegal||No||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Nevada||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|New Hampshire||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|New Jersey||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|New Mexico||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|New York||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|North Carolina||Fully Illegal||No||Reduced||View State Laws|
|North Dakota||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Ohio||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|Oklahoma||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Oregon||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Pennsylvania||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Rhode Island||Mixed||Yes||Reduced||View State Laws|
|South Carolina||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|South Dakota||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Tennessee||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Texas||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Utah||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Vermont||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|Virginia||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Washington||Fully Legal||Yes||Yes||View State Laws|
|West Virginia||Mixed||Yes||No||View State Laws|
|Wisconsin||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
|Wyoming||Fully Illegal||No||No||View State Laws|
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